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Early Vegetarian Recipes by Anne O'Connell

Thank you to everyone who commented on this blog over the last couple of weeks and we now have a winner of the National Vegetarian Week competition to win a copy of Early Vegetarian Recipes.

Congratulations to Yvonne at Krista, at the heart of it all.  I hope you enjoy the book!


The reason I ended up writing ‘Early Vegetarian Recipes’ was because of a lady called Florence George, a cookery teacher and writer from the early 20th century.  She just happened to have a been a teacher at my old school (slightly before I attended.  Obviously), who wrote a book called ‘Vegetarian Cookery’ in 1908.  It was while looking for her book in the British Library that I discovered the other wonderful vegetarian writers of the time.

I’ve now discovered a book, published by the school (King Edward VI High School), which looks at the life of Florence George and the history of cookery teaching in schools.  It’s a fascinating story as Florence was one of the first teachers to attend the National Training School of Cookery in London.

A large portion of the book is devoted to recipes, including a section of vegetarian recipes.  They are mostly simple recipes as you would expect from a school collection, but there’s plenty  here for adults looking for something quick and easy.  These tasty chick pea croquettes fall into that category.

chickpeafritters

Chick Pea Croquettes

1 1/2 lb cooked chick peas
2 cloves garlic
2 tblspns chopped parsley
1 medium potato, cooked
1 tblspn soy sauce (use tamari for wheat free recipe)
squeeze lemon juice
seasoning
flour for coating (use gluten free)
vegetable oil for frying

Mash the chick peas with the garlic and potato.  Add parsley, soy sauce, lemon juice and seasoning and mix well.

Roll the mixture into croquette of fritter shapes, then into the flour.  Cool in the fridge for 1 hour if possible.  Fry the croquettes or brush with oil before cooking under the grill.

Recipes for Success: 125 Years of Cookery at King Edward VI High School for Girls by Sally Huxley

Imagine having your own chocolate kitchen.  Or your own chocolate chef!  Apparently King George I had both of these things – one Thomas Tosier ruled over a small but vital room, preparing the King’s chocolate drink every morning, and for special dinners and entertainments.  Tosier’s wife, Grace, was also something of a celebrity (see Grace Elliot’s blog here) and traded on her royal connections to promote her own chocolate house in Greenwich!

The chocolate kitchen is a recent discovery at Hampton Court Palace and has now been opened up and visitors will also be able to see chocolate making sessions in action.  The demonstrations start on 18th April.  I’m thinking these are going to be a must-see!

What do you call a dish of a thick gravy stew topped with mashed potato? Cottage Pie or Shepherd’s Pie?  Well my mum always called it cottage pie, no matter what the ingredients, and it is the oldest recorded name for the dish having first appeared in 1791, so I’ll stick with it.  Besides it seems to make more sense for a vegetarian dish, as ‘Shepherd’s Pie’ has now come to mean a filling of mutton or lamb.  I have come across the theory that actually a cottage pie should have sliced potatoes on top to resemble the tiles on a cottage roof, whereas fluffy mashed potato resembles a woolly sheep!  But I always think a mashed topping is the real comfort food and it allows you to mash up other veg like swede, parsnip, or, as here, celeriac in with the potato.  This is a simple dish, easy to rustle up and open to changes depending what you have in.  The celeriac gives the mash a nice fresh flavour.  Serve with a green veg or salad.

cottagepie

Cottage Pie

500g/1 lb potatoes, peeled and chopped
225g/8oz celeriac, peeled and chopped
75g/2½oz butter / vegan margarine
2 or 3 tblsp milk/vegan milk (optional)

1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 stick celery, chopped
1 can chick peas, drained
1 can tomatoes
1 tblsp passata, or tomato puree mixed with a little water
1 tblsp olive oil
1 tsp dried basil or oregano
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Boil the potatoes and celeriac until soft.  Heat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5.

Meanwhile, heat the oil and cook the onion, celery and garlic over a medium heat for around five minutes until soft, but not browned.  Add the chick peas, tomatoes, passata, herbs, salt and pepper.  Stir and cook for around five minutes, then pour into a baking dish.

When the potatoes and celeriac are cooked, add the butter/margarine and the milk if using, then mash until smooth.  Spread the mash over the chick pea mixture in a nice thick layer, then fluff up the top with a fork.  Bake in the oven for around 30 minutes until the peaks of the potato have started to brown.

Don’t blame me, it’s the title of a rather wonderful little book that tells you all you need to know about baking, including, of course, how to avoid a soggy bottom (to your pies)!  And if you don’t know what to do with yourself now that The Great British Bake Off has finished, this is for you.

Written, rather brilliantly, by Gerard Baker, this book gives you a mini history of how cakes, bread and biscuits all evolved over time, as well as the scientific basis for how the ingredients work.  Thus you find out the difference between puff pastry and flaky pastry, how biscuits got their name and how to avoid some common baking problems.  Each section comes with a simple, well described recipe.

I love the histories in this book, but also that it manages to teach the basics without sounding condescending.  It’s beautifully written and designed and should absolutely have a place on the shelves of every baker, new or experienced.

How to Avoid a Soggy Bottom and Other Secrets to Achieving a Good Bake by Gerard Baker

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